New York City council enacts jobless discrimination bill
The New York City Council overrode Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the jobless discrimination bill that we discussed in a previous post, making New York among the earliest adopters of this type of protection for job seekers. The new law will take effect in three months and will prevent employers from eliminating candidates for jobs based only on their employment status and not their qualifications.
For people who have been subject to layoffs or fired for reasons not related to their job performance, being unemployed in this competitive job market can lead to job searches that last years. Studies have shown that the longer someone is without work, the harder it becomes to reenter the workforce.
One New York job seeker told reporters about his first-hand experience with jobless discrimination after he voluntarily left his job in 2009 because of a better offer that was later rescinded. After that it took two years to find a job when he did not take the advice of a recruiter and fudge his resume to make it appear as though he was still employed.
The bill was originally vetoed by Mayor Bloomberg who had concerns about the impact that it would have on businesses who want to take employment status into account as a legitimate criteria for a job.
While there are certainly legitimate concerns about the ability to choose not to hire someone because they have outdated skills or because they left their last job for performance reasons, the law will hopefully primarily to protect workers against jobs listing current employment as specific criteria without nuance or exception.
Source: Associated Press, “NYC adopts tough jobless-discrimination law,” March 13, 2013.
More information is available about workers’ rights in New York on our employment law page.